Thursday, July 28, 2005
The Pendleton Underground - Westward Ho! Part 6
The first place we visited in the underground was the Shamrock Card Room, which featured a group of really non-lifelike mannequins playing cards. As it turns out, the non-lifelike mannequin tableau is a hallmark of the Pendleton Underground. I couldn't help thinking that the Underground mannequins looked like they’d have gotten on well with the House on the Rock mannequins. Someone should hook them up. Sure, they come from different times and different places, but they (assuming mannequins have the capacity to appreciate anything) might enjoy being part of an all mannequin revival of Kate & Leopold. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that the card playing, gun-slinger mannequins would be as happy in Spring Green, Wisconsin as they are in their home under a bordello. Sure the HotR mannequins are nude, but they're probably all talk.
While the tour is short on naked mannequins, it does continue on through a series of rooms including the aforementioned Chinese jail, an opium den, and a big room where Chinese workers slept at night (presumably before Chinatown was built). The extensive network of tunnels originated beneath the city as a way for Chinese workers to get from place to place. There were curfews in place for the Chinese after dark, and there was a real danger of being used for target practice, if they were caught outside past curfew. This yet again proves to me that no one society has a monopoly on treating outsiders poorly.
Following the tour, we were starving. Luckily the Main Street Diner was only a few feet away. It was the life-sized Betty Boop outside on the sidewalk that caught our attention, but once we looked inside, we knew it was the right place for us. What was so great about it? It had food. It was also a cute, old school diner with burgers, fries and shakes. Really, at that point I didn’t care what they served. Jen is testing the cheeseburgers at various diners and proclaimed them good, but not as good as Big Jim’s in The Dalles. I am not testing burgers, but thought my Western Burger (basically a hamburger with some barbeque sauce and an onion ring on top) was okay too. Really, if we had waited much longer to eat, I would have happily eaten my shoe and called it haute cuisine. It is possible that this makes me not the best judge. Either way, we left the restaurant full and ready to continue on our trip, which lead us through La Grande and a series of other small towns.